Mild Spoiler Warning
We last saw The Umbrella Academy teleporting away from an apocalypse brought about by their estranged sister Vanya (Ellen Page), a cliff-hanger that left us all wondering where and when they would end up. It turns out, scattering the Hargreeves siblings across 1960s Dallas, Texas, was one of the best choices returning showrunner Steve Blackman could make for the second season of Netflix’s wacky superhero show.
A plot to stop the assassination of JFK, a new British ally, a trio of murderous platinum-haired Swedes and their fish tank headed boss are just some of the weird things introduced to us in the first two episodes. But as odd as some of those plot points and characters may sound, the show is one of the easiest watches of 2020. Once again taking heavily from Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá’s work on the comic-book series of the same name, The Umbrella Academy delivers on the stunning costumes and killer soundtrack of its shaky previous season.
Accidentally bringing the apocalypse back with them to the 1960s, Episode One opens with the entire Umbrella Academy facing off against an invading Soviet Army in a spectacular, and super-powered, one-shot action scene. Straight off the bat, we get to see every Hargreeves sibling and their abilities in glorious detail. While the rest of the show’s action sequences aren’t nearly as bombastic, the finale does come close with a battlefield of countless Commission agents and a display of powers that rivals big-screen superhero groups like the X-Men.
The added element of time-travel creates tension that was notably absent from season one as the Umbrella Academy struggle to keep their timeline intact.
Stand-out cast members include newcomer Ritu Arya as Lila, Diego’s new trash-talking friend who’s backstory is one of the greatest mysteries of the season and Robert Sheehan as the ever-brilliant Klaus Hargreeves. We get to see Klaus become the leader of a cult and bump into a younger version of his love interest from season one, Dave. It is time-travel focused moments like these that create tension that was notably absent from season one, as the Umbrella Academy struggles to keep their timeline intact and not jeopardise the future any more than they already have.
Sheehan’s banter with Justin H. Min as the ghost of his brother Ben was a highlight of season one and only improves here to become one of the most emotional parts of this season. Along with that, we get to see Ellen Page’s Vanya gain a well-needed love interest that fans will undoubtedly be very happy to see blossom. Emmy Raver-Lampman's Allison also gets her own arc that finally doesn’t involve being in love with her brother (yikes). Instead, we get to see how she has adjusted to life in 60s America as a black woman from 2019 by becoming an outspoken member of the early Civil Rights Movement.
Overall, The Umbrella Academy continues to impress as one of the most outlandish superhero offerings on the small screen (and perhaps even the big screen) with stellar performances across the whole cast and a perfectly selected jukebox for every fight and tearjerking moment, all of which hit perfectly.